Life was just a bowl of cherries for Tony Award nominee Valerie Pettiford, but that fruit will be far from minds of the sexually liberated characters she will be giving moves to in the West Coast premiere of Club Hellfire. The new play by Leonard Melfi opens Oct. 10 at the Dorie Theatre at the Complex in Hollywood for a run through Nov. 28.
Choreographer Pettiford sang and danced her way through Fosse, earning her nomination for Best Featured Actress. She has also appeared in Chicago in London (opposite Chita Rivera), Livent's Show Boat and Fosse's final original show, Big Deal.
Club Hellfire is an S&M and sex club, run by a fellow named Slice. Slice has a problem - he does really love his wife, Sacrilege, but can't get over his fixation with his sister-in-law, Space Cadet. Around him, the patrons and friends of his busy club go about their leather and vinyl bound business, learning the hard way that complete freedom is also a prison. By the end of the evening, two people will lose their lives as the price for sexual liberation.
Melfi is the author of Birdbath, Lunchtime, Porno stars at Home, Louie and Lena, The Little Venice Makes a Good Drink and collaborated on Oh, Calcutta!.
The cast features the show's director Steve Wastell, a Club Hellfire vet from New York, Paula Ficara, Toni Ana Rossi, Jay Brown, co-director Tom Downey, Mark Gant, Mary Ludwig, Ben Russak, Kimberly Erin Adams, Joshua LeBar, Juli Ann Suttles, Eric Beck, Andrew Quintero, Bryna Bidinger and Sheneska Jackson. Tickets are $12, a portion of which will go to benefit the Wildlife Waystation. The Dorie Theatre at the Complex is located at 6476 Santa Monica Boulevard. For reservations, call (323) 960-8820.
-- By Christine Ehren